October 22, 2012

i survived {running a half marathon while pregnant}

On Saturday, at 22 weeks pregnant, I completed my third half marathon.  Woot woot!  It wasn't easy, but it wasn't miserable either, so I guess there is that.  I can't say I ever really want to run a half while pregnant again, but I'm glad I did it.


I definitely didn't sleep the best the night before.  I had been trying to stay extremely hydrated the couple days before, so of course after going to bed about 10:30, I was up at 1am and 3am to pee.  Then around 4am I started having nightmares about missing the race start.  So when my alarm went off at 5am I shot out of bed.  Peed yet again, made some toast, peed again, got ready, peed AGAIN and let my parents in.  Chris was working nights (boo) so they were in charge of the wee one.

Meg picked me up at 5:58am and we headed towards downtown.  We were in the area of the race by 6:15am but could not freaking find a place to park.  We tried a parking garage but it didn't seem like there were any spots.  Neither of us really know downtown all that well, and the places I sort of knew how to get to were blocked off because of the race.  We almost parked in one spot, because everyone else was, but there were no parking signs all up and down the street.  Eventually we found a random spot (not sure it was really a spot, but other people were parked there, we didn't see a no parking sign, and we were out of time to keep looking), and started getting our gear together.  Of course we realized then that there were no safety pins in our packets.  Gah.

We hopped out of the car and made our way to the start line, during which time I called our friend Jenny, who of course just happened to have four extra safety pins because she is super prepared like that.  Side note, Jenny rocked her first full marathon in 3:56.  Way to go girl!  And thank you for the safety pins!  Moving on, at this point it was probably after 6:55am, and the race started at 7:05am.  I really really wanted to pee again, and attempted to hop into some porta potties, but they were for medics only (LAME).  So I decided to just pray that it didn't really affect me.   They played the national anthem, I popped a couple of honey stingers and shortly after we were off.

I'm pretty sure the route was identical to last year's, but I did not remember the first couple miles having so many hills.  None of them were terrible, but enough to wear me down a bit.  And the first big hill is a BITCH.  Seriously.  I don't know how we made it through that one.  But we did, and getting to the top is such a relief.  We finished the first 5k in 33:25.  The next 4-5 miles are decent.  Some downhill, some rolling hills, flat sections.  We crossed the 10k mark in 1:06:49, and the 8 mile mark at 1:25:16.  I think I ate a couple more honey stingers around mile 8, and somewhere around mile 9 the urge to pee got pretty strong, but I didn't want to stop.  At that point in the game I was ready to be done.  I could feel the muscles in my belly starting to get tired an uncomfortable.

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Miles 8ish-10ish are pretty much uphill.  It is fairly gradual, but still can take a toll on you.  I kept promising Meg that we were almost to the top.  At some point I'm pretty sure I was chanting "just keep running!  just keep running!"  I also kept repeating we just had to make it to the top, and then it would be smooth sailing.  Oh how I wish.  The downhill was a relief for my legs, but is much much harder on the belly.  I'm guessing because of the lack of ab strength now?  Plus I could tell Baby Sister was moving around shortly after mile 10.  At one point I got a sharp pain in the left side of my belly.  It was definitely muscle or ligaments, nothing that I felt I should be too concerned about, but it was painful enough that I absolutely had to stop and walk for a minute.  The pain must have been coming from however little girl was sitting, because I sort of pushed on my belly and moved her around, and when I started running again the pain had pretty much subsided.  It was crazy.  My lower half was definitely uncomfortable by that point, but bearable.

Shortly after mile 10 through the finish is downhill or flat.  I so badly just wanted to take off and get done, and even though we did speed up a bit, my body just wouldn't let me fly.  Thankfully the miles still went by pretty quickly, and it wasn't long before we rounded the corner to head toward the finish line.  We spotted Meaghan's Dad first, cheering us on.  It is crazy how much seeing someone you know can give you a little boost.  Shortly after was Meg's mom, husband, and a huge surprise to me, Christopher.  He had gotten off work and made it in time to see me cross the finish line.  At that point I couldn't stop smiling as we finished the last few hundred feet.  We made it.  I did it, I survived!

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My dad was waiting shortly after the finish line.  Apparently Ryann waited until they were all the way down there to announce she needed to go to the bathroom.  So she and my mom missed us coming in.  Sorry mom!  Anyway, I stopped my run tracker on my phone and noticed that it said 13.87 miles.  Meaghan's had read something like 13.8 when she stopped it.  I know the course is measured from the inner most path, but man.  I didn't need to do an extra .6 or .7!  Our chip time was 2:20:08, but I am going to credit us with at least 13.75 miles.  So I am pretty damn proud to say that at 22 weeks pregnant I finished a half in under 2:20.  Personal best?  No.  But not too shabby, not too shabby at all.

I was surprised at how well I felt when we were done.  My body hurt, there is no doubting that.  But the last two half marathons I've done, when I was finished I literally felt like I was going to keel over and die on the sidewalk.  This time it was just the pain in my muscles and ligaments.  After some pictures and high fives and a big hug for Meaghan (way to go on finishing your first official half Meg!) we took off for some breakfast.  I inhaled my entire plate, plus some of Chris's pancakes.  I just couldn't get full!  iMapMyRun suggested I burned about 1575 calories, and I was definitely making up for it first thing :o).

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Some things I want to remember... this is the first time I've gone to a race and not worried about a single person around me, or really how fast I was going.  Obviously I was trying to keep a decent pace, but I really just listened to my body and went with it.  It was tough, because I'm competitive by nature, but at the same time it was really nice.  I wasn't concerned with whether or not anyone thought I was going slow, what my finish time was going to be, anything.  I just wanted to make it.

Also, make sure your shoes are in good shape.  Just do it, seriously.  On Thursday I decided to go to the running store since my mom was in town.  I wasn't planning on wearing my new shoes for the race, but I wanted them ASAP afterwards.  Well at the suggestion of the guy who sold me the shoes, I ended up wearing the brand new never worn shoes for the half.  And I didn't have a single problem at all with my calves.  The supposed shin splints that have been plaguing me for the last few weeks?  Nothing, I didn't feel a thing.  It was crazy!!!  Do I suggest wearing brand new shoes?  No, probably not the best idea, but it was better than wearing shoes that were too worn down.  I thought as a rule of thumb running shoes were supposed to last roughly 500 miles.  I asked the sales guy how long those shoes should last, and he said 300-500 running miles, depending on if you wear them for something else.  I had worn my shoes for well over 300 running miles, plus walking miles.  Whoops.  Now I know, get new shoes more often.

Lastly, I didn't wear any headphones during this race.  I have never done anything over a 5k without music (as far as a race goes) but lately I've been training without.  Partly because I've been long running with Meaghan, so I have someone to talk to, and partly because I've gotten sick of dealing with the headphones.  There were some points where I wish I had some tunes to try and get my mind to wander, but ultimately I was happy with the decision.  Plus Meaghan and I stayed together the whole time.  Although I'm betting she was wishing she had her tunes too, when I seriously couldn't think of anything to talk about :o).

In the end, I would say if you want to do a long distance run while pregnant, try and make it between 15-18 weeks.  Some women can rock a marathon at 30+ weeks, some women's bodies won't let them run at all.  But in my opinion running was the easiest between weeks 12-18.  Before that and I was still in the thick of the first trimester nastiness (even though running often helped me feel better).  Now it is just hard on the belly.  But at about week 15 or 16?  I was feeling good.  And always, be sure to check with your doctor before signing up for any races while pregnant.  A lot of their opinions will be personal, with some doctors being more lenient than others, but listen to their advice.


Congrats to everyone else out there who ran this weekend.  Great work!  Write about your races (and any other health and fitness related stuff of course) and link up below!


christa said...


Amanda said...

Way to go! It is so0o inspiring to hear how active you are staying throughout your pregnancy!

Also, I took your advice and signed up for a 5K in January!

Jen@Living a Listful{l} Life said...

I am so impressed with you! Way to go lady!!!

Megan said...

This is so amazing!!

I've never ever ever been a runner, and just ran my first 5k about a month ago. I signed up for a 10k next month, and have been training for it. I am so impressed by this, seriously!

Crazycurls said...

Amazing! Congrats! You should be so proud of yourself, that's a huge accomplishment!

I would love a post on how you pick shoes. Right now I just go to Kohl's and pick out what feels good/what's cheapest. I know that's not the way to go.

Kelly Janowski said...

Congratulations on your finish!

Nicole said...

You seriously rock!! Way to go girl. How inspirational!!

fifth house on the left | family blog said...

amazing!!! kuddos to you for this huge accomplishment! you should be so proud. very inspiring :)

The Bignon Family said...

Awesome! So impressed! I am in the "my body won't let me run" category. Seriously don't know how you do it!

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I cannot understand what you are doing. For the selfish goal of being able to say "I ran a half marathon while I was pregnant" you are risking the health of you and your baby. No matter what your doctor said, running a marathon is never healthy, even if you are not pregnant and responsible for a little life. But doing it while you are pregnant? Absolutely irresponsible in my mind. Sorry!

Nikki said...

Awesome job! I am super impressed.

Anonymous said...

Wow--I am so impressed. I don't normally post, but I have to say "Great job, momma!" Take care of yourself now.

Amber said...

First, Anonymous: Really? A doctor has told you running long distances is "never healthy" ? Seriously? With proper training it can be done in a safe way - otherwise thousands upon thousands would be cautioned by their licensed physicians not to do it. And also not leaving your name or your blog? Give me a break.

Second, YOU ARE AMAZING ASHLEY. Seriously great work. Way to hang strong and push yourself a little bit. Now you can rest up and enjoy the rest of your pregnancy. :)

Kim3278 said...

Awesome! You are such an inspiration.I've started back on my running journey. It will be long and treacherous but I'm doing it. Congratulations!! I hope that baby sister in there let you get some rest afterwards.

Jenny said...

You did such a good job Ashley! Also, is it weird that I feel like a celebrity when you mention me on your blog?? Glad we both survived :)

Also, I was using MapMyRun during the marathon, and my phone was definitely telling me that I finished each mile wayyyyy before I saw the official mile marker. My run didn't save for some reason, but when I finished I was closer to 27 miles than 26.2. Apparently we need to practice cutting corners on courses :)

Meredith said...

GO ASHLEY! That's awesome!!

Anonymous said...

That is so awesome what a huge accomplishment! Congrats Ashley!

Ps- I have to say you totally inspired me to do couch to 5k last year and I did a half marathon this summer!

Baby Mama said...

so impressive! congratulations!

Alena Orwin said...

Awesome work Ashley! I am running a half in about 7weeks when ill be 23 Wks and reading this really gave me a little extra inspiration! Thank you so much!

Tiffany said...

Congrats!! That is so awesome :) I really really really want to run ... maybe I'll push myself out of bed tomorrow and give it a try inspite of the nausea! Might not make it to my half marathon but reading this made me realize how bad I've been missing one of my favorite things and how empty my sick little life is feeling right now. Thanks for sharing so much, your blog is an inspiration as well as a wealth of knowledge to this first time preggo :)